Biden Warms Up for a Media Roast on Saturday

President Biden has been sharpening his jokes as of late, mostly to target his opponent, former President Donald J. Trump. On Saturday, he is expected to extend the roast to members of the press during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

The dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel will provide a break to journalists and government officials from their normal daily jousting for a night of glitz and gossip in celebration of the free press. Mr. Biden will deliver his third attempt at a humorous speech for the gathered crowd and most likely continue his bit of roasting news outlets and his Republican rivals.

But Mr. Biden is also expected to issue a more serious warning at a time when journalists around the world are being jailed or detained more frequently for doing their job.

During an interview on Friday with the Sirius XM radio host Howard Stern, Mr. Biden said he would emphasize the importance of a free press. But Mr. Biden, who has held fewer news conferences than his predecessors, also hinted that could come with some criticism.

After mentioning his forthcoming speech, Mr. Biden said he was concerned that members of the news media were not hard enough on his political opponent, Mr. Trump.

“I think some of them are worried about attacking him, worried about taking him on,” Mr. Biden said.

On Saturday, however, Mr. Biden is expected to mostly put the tension aside and join reporters for a few laughs. Colin Jost, a former reporter for the Staten Island Advance newspaper who is a co-anchor of the “Weekend Update” segment of “Saturday Night Live,” will headline the dinner.

“He is a writer first, and all of our members can relate to that,” Kelly O’Donnell, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in an interview with Deadline this past week. “He had been a reporter very early on as a student journalist. He gets it, and writing is the foundation of his whole entertainment career.”

Mr. Biden himself has been testing out material as of late. He has homed in on Mr. Trump’s suggestion while in office that Americans should inject themselves with disinfectant to prevent Covid, even joking this week that Mr. Trump had tried it himself. “It all went to his hair,” he said.

The president also tried some self-deprecating jokes about one of voters’ top concerns: his age. During a fund-raiser on Thursday at the home of the actor Michael Douglas, who played Benjamin Franklin on television, Mr. Biden said Franklin was only a couple years older than him.

Mr. Biden was the first president to attend since 2016; Mr. Trump boycotted the event during his term. During Mr. Biden’s first year in office, the dinner was canceled because of concerns over the pandemic.

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